Clarksdale native Marcus Cohen, a 6-5 300-pound junior offensive tackle for the Rebels, believes the situation for him to - finally - make his mark as one of the stalwarts on the offensive line is now.
"I feel like the opportunity I have been working for the last three years is here," said Cohen, referring to the ongoing offseason program and the upcoming March 4th start of spring training. "Ever since the Mississippi State game, I knew I needed to focus on taking my game to the next level, stepping up and filling a larger role, a starting role."
Cohen came to Ole Miss as a highly-regarded recruit out of Clarksdale, but has seen lightly-recruited Darryl Harris, a teammate of his at Clarksdale, work into starting staus while he has remained a backup.
"A lot of it is timing, staying healthy, who's in front of you early in your career and your progress," he explained. "Some players develop quicker than others. The normal good offensive lineman is usually a two-year starter. You have to pay your dues and learn your craft from the older guys. With Bobby (Harris) and Tre' Stallings being around, the opportunity for me to start hasn't been real good. They were older and better than me in that stage of my development, but I think I can accomplish a lot in my career. I hope nobody has written me off because I've been a backup to those guys. I haven't written myself off. In fact, I feel very good about myself and where I am right now."
Cohen suffered with some shoulder problems last year - it kept popping out of place, but he fought through those obstacles last year and didn't miss any time. He's been rehabbing it ever since and believes he has the problem solved.
"During the Christmas holidays I stayed at school and worked hard on my rehab so I would be 100% in spring. My shoulder situation is much better. I had a rotator cuff problem, but I think I have gotten that fixed through extensive rehab," he proclaimed. "I'm just now able to get back to doing some things, like bench press, but I feel good about it."
As spring rapidly approaches, Marcus will be in competition for playing time with sophomore Michael Oher, who has moved from OG to OT, sophomore David Traxler, and redshirt frosh Reid Neely.
"It's time for me to step up, as I said. Coach O (Ed Orgeron) talks to us about things like that," he continued. "It's time for me to be a leader of the offensive line and help this offense to the best of my ability."
Cohen has a new offensive line coach, Art Kehoe, who he has already grown attached to.
"Coach Kehoe is a great coach. We like him a lot. He's real laid back and fits our personalities well," he said. "When it's business time and time to work, we work hard and give him everything we've got. When it's time to have a little fun, he's right in the middle of it. We know where we stand with him. He's demanding and excitable, but he's fair."
Marcus can see a good future with the Rebs' new offense.
"The offense is not that different from what we've been doing, but the terminology is different. We are learning that as we go and are picking up on it," Cohen offered. "I feel with Coach Kehoe and Coach (Dan) Werner coming in that the program is starting to pick up some momentum. Things are a lot better around here.
"Personally, things are going very well for me right now. I think my focus is better. I think my drive is better. I think I have more urgency and I think I am adapting to the new offense well."
For Marcus Cohen, timing is everything.
In his mind, it's now his time.
Cohen believes time is right
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